New treatment available for CLL in England and Wales

Venetoclax has been recommended for adults with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended venetoclax on its own for treating chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in adults:

  • with certain genetic changes (17p deletion or TP53 mutation) and when a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor (for example ibrutinib) is unsuitable, or whose disease has progressed after a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor
  • without a 17p deletion or TP53 mutation, and whose CLL has progressed after both chemo-immunotherapy (chemotherapy with antibody therapy) and a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor.

Venetoclax has been available to patients in England via an NHS scheme called the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF). This decision to recommend venetoclax has been made after NICE reviewed the additional evidence collected from patients receiving it via the CDF scheme. Venetoclax is a targeted treatment called a BCL-2 inhibitor. It blocks the BCL-2 protein which is produced in large amounts by cancerous white blood cells and helps them to survive and build up in the body. Venetoclax helps to reduce the number of cancer cells and slow growth.

The guidance states venetoclax meets NICE's criteria to be considered a life-extending treatment at the end of life, fulfils an unmet need and is a valued treatment option.

Find out more about drug development, approval and funding, or visit Lymphoma TrialsLink for the latest on clinical trials for lymphoma.

Published: 15 June 2022